Bondera Tile Mat Set: Does It Really Work?

So we get asked a lot… is Bondera really as good as they say?

Long Story Short

 Yes.

Short Story Long(-er)

Bondera backsplash: One year later.

Bondera backsplash: as good as they say.

I’ve heard remarks at tradeshows, listened to contractors talking about it, and even seen posts in an on-line forum questioning whether Bondera Tile Mat Set works and why traditional methods for adhereing tile “should” be better. Most of those skeptics start their argument (it’s true) with the fact that they have never used Bondera, yet all seem to have a strong out-of-the-gate opinion.

Well, we’ve used it. We’ve lived with it for over a year and we can tell you: Bondera’s not kidding. It has worked for us from install through every day use.

Wall and Tile Adhesion

Most people hit the skepticism roadblock at adhesion: does it stick to the wall and does the tile stick to the Bondera? And will it remain stuck? All good questions.

For us and our backsplash, the answer on all counts is a resounding yes. Since Bondera is “pressure sensitive” we made sure we pressed on it to make a strong connection. We found the technique that worked the best and was the easiest was to “wipe it down” or what we call “burnish” it using a 6 inch drywall taping knife.

As for the tile itself, we used a highly irregular tile. It’s a stone actually, Stratstones, and the backs of these tiles are flat-ish but not evenly flat. Again, we wiped the tile into the Bondera (this time with a sponge float) and the tile has not fluctuated a millimeter. There are no loose tiles and no grout cracks—awesome. And, not that we need it too much in this application, but Bondera is highly water resistant, making it ideal for really wet service like a shower surround.

What’s more, during installation, we had no mortar squeeze-through as is often the case in setting smaller tiles in thinset. This alone saved half a day of wiping and toothbrushing mortar out of the tile gaps that always seems to manage a way out from behind the tile. Then, it was same-day grout, next day seal and good to go.

Long Story Short, Again

Bondera saved us time during the install and helped us deliver a fault-free finished product. It works.

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18 Comments

  1. I trust that Bondera will stick. What I am worried about is if you can get it back off without damage to the wall (in my case drywall) underneathe. I am in a rental and looking for temporary backsplash fixes. Thank you!

    Alex

  2. It will pull the first layer of drywall off. also you must put the tile on soon after you put up the bondera or it will start to fail, also you have to grout as soon as you can or it will fail. in other words, you need to complete the whole tile job for it to work well. at least that was my experience…

  3. Alex, Bondera is intended to permanently bond to the substrate. It’s pressure-sensitive so you can place it on certain items (plywood, laminate) and peel it back up to readjust it as needed. Once you press on it, that’s it though: The glue sticks. On drywall, it’ll be less forgiving, just as if you stuck duct tape on it.

    As for ‘open’ time as Russ describes, we didn’t leave it un-tiled or un-grouted so we can’t speak to it. It does have a liner and it lives in the package that way so I don’t think you need to race to get the tile installed but I’d follow Russ’s experience and work when you have time to do the entire project (like over a weekend). Only remove liner you know you can cover with tile if it’s a large project.

    Hope this adds to the conversation.

  4. I currently have mar lite on the wall where I want to put a tile backsplash. Do I need to remove the marmite first

  5. Hi Anna–

    Bondera sticks to slick surfaces, like laminate, according to Bondera. If the Marlite is well adhered to the wall, it seems reasonable you can go over it with Bondera. You can always do a test to see if it sticks with a small piece. Always better to be safe than sorry–

  6. Hi – we’re happy that you are using and are happy with Bondera! Yes, Bondera is intended to stick tight to the substrate. However, it can be removed with mineral spirits, and your tiles won’t “set” until pressure is applied, so they can be picked up and moved from place to place until you’re satisfied with your pattern. Then press firmly, and grout. For more complete information about how to use the product, you can go to our website at http://www.buybondera.com, and download more detailed information. It’s also where the product is now available for purchase.

  7. Has anyone done a comparison to MusselBound? I learn of MB, but saw some really bad reviews of it from users. Any thoughts are appreciated.

  8. I have heard horror stories about going hundreds of razor blades cutting bun Dara. I’ve also read that it is impossible to cut with the scissors. What have your experiences cutting the product been.

    In addition there seem to be many different styles of the product. I plan on doing a backsplash in my kitchen so I am assuming that I should use the product meant for a vertical surface. What about the tape? Should you always use tape to adhere one strip to another? That seems like an off a lot of tape. Should the tape only be used in an area that may get damp and in which case use the waterproof tape. I appreciate your comments all of this as I haven’t seen answers to many of these questions.

  9. I am looking into using Bondera for my kitchen backsplash. The tile I will be using is 4″ x 12″, will this size tile work with this product?

  10. Mary–I’m not certain Bondera is still around. As I recall, there was a size limit they had. I’ve contacted them. If I hear anything back I’ll pass it on to you. Thank you so much for asking us your question!

  11. Don’t substitute TileQuick for Bondera. You’ll regret it. I had used Bondera 4 or 5 years ago and loved it. I couldn’t find it again this year so I tried TileQuick. All it is is felt that is sticky on both sides. Tiles begin to fall off, even following instructions.

  12. Wow. Thanks David.

  13. I used Bondera about 10 years ago to tile my large kitchen backsplash. It was about10ft by 3ft (some areas higher than others). I swear by Bondera. It took me several weeks to complete the area that I tiled because I am a single mom of two who was working 50 hours a week at the time. I worked on it as I felt up to it. I tried to only expose the sticky surface out for the tile I knew I would place at the time. Unfortunately, that didn’t always work for me. Occasionally I left some of the Bondera exposed. Whether it was the next day or a few days later, it was always plenty sticky to accept the tile when I got back to it. Once I had all of the tile set, I then went back and grouted it. The next day I used the spray on tile set. It is just as beautiful today as it was 10 years ago when I put it up.

    I am currently placing a kitchen backsplash for a friend. I had purchased alot of Bondera about a year ago when I found it on sale. I have started my friends backsplash using my Bondera. She and her husband went to Lowe’s to purchase more Bondera to finish the backsplash. The employee at Lowe’s told her that Lowe’s no longer carries Bondera, as there have been many complaints that some of the customers who used Bondera were experiencing some problems with the tiles falling off the walls. My friend is upset at the thought of this happening with the tiles that I have already installed using the Bondera. I’ve tried to assure her that I have confidence in this product, but she wants to change over to Muscle Bond. I’ll do what she wants, it’s her backsplash. We’ll see how it goes. I think I will text her with a link to this website.

  14. What a project. Wow. Thank you for sharing. You can find more videos and fun on YouTube if you like. http://www.youtube.com/myfixituplife

  15. Hi Mark. I am about to embark on a huge school mosaic project with my students. We will be covering two huge cement columns in our school. I am looking for a sticky product that will allow me to break the huge deign into small sections so that the students can work on and complete each section individually over a few weeks. Once completed, we can peel the backing off section by section and adhere it to the column just before grouting. Do you think this product would work for that?

  16. Hi Rhonda — This sounds awesome. Bondera is pretty permanent, so once it’s on, it’s on for good. It sounds like the art project is also permanent so it seems like it should be OK. I’d connect with Bondera directly, however, to make sure. No kidding, their email is a gmail account, so I’m not sure what’s happening with the company. – http://www.buybondera.com/#!contact/c24vq — I will suggest this: Interlocking the tiles from sheet-to-sheet of whatever you use will almost surely be difficult. I would be very careful of seams and joints. Undulations in the concrete, little tile imperfections, etc. You’re approach seems to be like making a big jigsaw puzzle. I hope this helps. Please let me know. — Mark

  17. Hello! Half of my wall I did a mosaic tile, using mortar, last year. We removed all those cabinets and now I’d REALLY like to use this stuff to apply to the full wall using the same mosaic tiles. My one huge concern is this… Because I used mortar for the other ones, does that mean that if I try using this new mat, will the other “mortared” tiles stick out obnoxiously far?

  18. Kyle – First, awesome question. You’re a DIYer I could hang out with without going crazy. The answer is, I don’t know. Bondera (if you can find it in stores) has a thickness to it as does thinset. However, there’s really no way to tell — with any degree of accuracy — without trying. No matter what approach you take, you have to be careful matching up the tiles and they’re spacing, etc. Feel free to send or post a photo (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and I can get a better feel for what you’re doing. Thanks — and sorry for the lag time on an answer. Seems to be the season for me to be a road warrior. — Mark

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